Search engine optimization (SEO) is absolutely crucial for any new WordPress online store. The reason is simple: if your website ranks higher, more customers will be able to find and support your online store. So, to help drive traffic to your new store, you will have to know how to optimize your website.
However, SEO can be quite complex! One way to optimize your website for the different search engines is with the help of focus keywords. After you have identified the most relevant keywords, you can incorporate them into your product pages, alt and meta descriptions, URLs, and permalinks. Though, the challenge is to find ways that you can use these keywords in a natural and logical manner.
In addition to using keywords effectively, there are other strategies that you can employ too. With the help of the following nine nifty SEO tips, you can help to boost your website’s ranking in the search results.
1. Opt for an SEO-friendly Theme
One of the main perks of using WordPress for your online store is that search engines really love this website builder. Now to make the most of the SEO functionality, ensure that the WordPress theme that you’re using for your online store has also been created with SEO in mind.
2. Make Use of Plug-ins
There are countless plug-ins and extensions available! With the help of these practical tools, you can really grow your online store.
You can, for example, use Yoast SEO which is one of the top SEO plug-ins that is currently available. In short, it will help you to pick a primary keyword for each page of your website and will then share recommendations about how you can optimally use it on your web page.
Two other useful plug-ins that can help you to boost your store’s potential income are MonsterInsights and Broken Link Checker. With the help of MonsterInsights, you can keep track of increases in traffic and possible issues in real time, while Broken Link Checker can help you to identify any broken links.
3. Avoid Using a Long URL
To ensure that your website visitors, as well as the different search engines, can understand your URLs easily, it is good practice to enable WordPress permalinks. By enabling permalinks, you can use a more descriptive keyword instead of a long confusing product ID in your URL.
4. Make Use of Breadcrumbs
In the computing world, breadcrumbs are good! In short, a breadcrumb link is found at the top of your product web page and helps your website visitors by showing them on which page they currently are and what they have looked at before they have landed on the current page. So, it makes it a lot easier for your website visitors to return to the previous category that they have browsed.
On top of that, search engines like Google also uses breadcrumb links to assess the structure of your website. This brings us to our next point…
5. Ensure Your Website Is Easy to Navigate
You definitely do not want to try your website visitors’ patience while they are browsing your online store’s wide range of interesting products. So, make sure that your website’s navigation is intuitive.
Start with your main navigation. It should be really straightforward. If a link is not that important, rather place it the footer of your website as opposed to the main navigation bar.
By doing this, users will still be able to visit all the key sections of your website, but the main navigation menu will remain clean and simple. Another benefit of going this route is that this way Google’s search bots will be able to find all your web pages.
At the end of the day, if your website boasts uncluttered navigation, users will be more inclined to stay on your website for longer which can reduce your bounce rate significantly. A lower bounce rate many times means a higher position in the search results.
6. Write Your Own Product Descriptions and Meta Descriptions
Although a product description is usually quite short, you should still ensure that it is well written and includes the relevant keywords in a natural manner. In some instances, you might be tempted simply to copy the product description that the manufacturer has already written, but this could mean that your online store will rank lower in the search results.
In addition to writing your own product descriptions, also take the time to write your own meta descriptions. In short, a meta description is a short description of the content that appears below the title of a search result entry. A meta description is typically more or less 160 characters long (though, that being said, there is no set length).
Although a meta description doesn’t improve your SEO much, it can boost the click-through rate. Basically, it can work similarly to a carrot that you dangle in front of your target audience motivating them to click on your link.
Another factor to keep in mind is that Google might not even use your meta description. These short descriptions are actually created according to the search terms that a person has used. Though, as Google in some instances uses a web page’s meta description to create the short text for the search results, it is therefore still advisable that all your web pages have their own meta descriptions. At the end of the day, if your descriptions are useful, they stand a better chance of making it to the search results page.
7. Avoid Content That Is Too Similar
As mentioned with the previous tip, search engines detest duplicate content! Google might even go as far as to remove your products, blog posts etc. from their search results if some of your web pages are too similar to other content that is available.
Your first step will be to check if your website does have any content that has been duplicated. Luckily there are tools such as Yoast SEO available to help you with this daunting task.
After you have done this, you will have to find a way to bring these pages with duplicate content together. The easiest will be to redirect the URLs to the page that boasts the best ranking, most organic traffic and internal links. Once again, the Yoast SEO plug-in will be able to help you with this step, but there are other WordPress plug-ins available too.
8. Include Alt Descriptions for Your Pictures
Alt descriptions (also called alt text or alternative text) can be very useful. In short, if one of the images do not load for some reason, its alt text will instead appear. Not only can alt text improve your SEO, but it also means that website visitors who depend on a page reader will still be able to browse your website.
There is one secret to using alt text and that is to keep the language usage clear and to the point. You are more than welcome to incorporate keywords here, as long as they still accurately describe your images and are not confusing.
9. Optimize the Titles of Your Pages
The majority of online stores will have both products as well as category pages. Your product pages will focus on specific words, while the category pages will focus on non-specific words like shoes, jackets, accessories, etc.
You can optimize the titles of your category and product pages by incorporating keywords. A plug-in like Yoast SEO that was discussed earlier can be very helpful with this step.
Like with the other content on your website, the page titles should also still be easy to read and flow naturally. Ideally, you want to create descriptive page titles that will help the search engines identify what that specific page is about, but your website visitors should always be your first priority. If you prioritize the use of keywords over your actual target audience, your website and online store will only suffer.
With the help of WordPress, you can create an e-commerce website that your target audience will find straightforward and simple to use. What is more, there are countless practical plug-ins available that will help you to modify it for particular tasks and even help you to improve your online store’s revenue.
Though, you will not be able to boost your revenue, if you do not pay attention to SEO. It might be a complex topic, but there are still a couple of practical steps that you can take to boost the ranking of your website in the search results.
Start by picking an SEO-friendly theme with easy-to-use navigation. Then, turn your attention to your content.
Writing your own content might be a time-consuming activity, but it is definitely a rewarding one! Not only will you feel more proud of your online store and everything that it has to offer, but the search engines will reward you too.
About the Author:
Evaldas Mockus is an Experienced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and Saas companies. Currently, he is associated with Omnisend, an e-commerce marketing automation platform built for growing e-commerce businesses. Follow him on LinkedIn.